The Sound Of The Show That Never Ends

One classic of progressive rock is Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Karn Evil 9 First Impression Part Two. Progressive rock is known for its long songs, and this one is no exception – and it has a long, multi-part title as well. But I doubt there’s anyone who has never heard this part of it:

Other parts are more impressive and more difficult works for keyboard (and there is a great resource called The Piano Bench with transcriptions of the music to many ELP classics, for those who may want to learn some of them).

What I’d really like to know is whether anyone has advice on keyboard/synthesizer/arpeggiator settings for the famous opening sound of this part of the song. I don’t think I’m likely to use it in church as an introduction to a song, but I still think it would be a fun sound to be able to replicate. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

I also want to recommend ELP as a bridge for people who like rock but never listen to classical or who like classical music but never listen to rock. While classical elements are standard in progressive rock, I don’t know of any other band where the two genres overlap and coexist to quite the same extent as they do with Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Two classic examples to illustrate:
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  • Ron

    Thanks for the flashback Dr. McGrath,I remember seeing them a few decades ago at Cobo Hall-Michigan. With a 50 piece orchestra and 75,000 Watts of amplification. Incredibly impressive.Got here from Evangelical Textual Criticism. Gonna bookmark you now.Thanks again,Ron

  • I would like to add a huge warning to those who might be interested in checking out ELP: Every album (with two exceptions) has one "bad song" on it. Don't let this put you off.The two exceptions are: "Pictures at an Exhibition" (no bad songs) and "Love Beach" (all bad songs; I'm ashamed to admit that I still have this on vinyl).(Please don't mention "In the Hot Seat"; I'm still trying to pretend that it doesn't exist.)

  • Oh, one more thing. Thanks for posting the Montreaux version of "Karn Evil 9". That extended drum solo gets me every time.

  • If we are going to go back in time and look for bridges between classical and rock music, then we must include classical violinist turned heavy metal master, Yngwie Malmsteen… spent way too many nights staying up fighting with those high speed arpeggios. My fingers hurt just thinking about it.

  • Am I the only one thinking that it would be fun to have a jam session at SBL when we all get together?

  • Márton Marczell

    I recreated the “Welcome Back” synth part on my JUNO-G. Not difficult. You need 2-3 saw waves, detuned from each other for fatness, filtered to your liking, and the filter modulated with a “Sample-and-Hold” (S&H) LFO. Then take a regular Hammond to play the later parts. I’m sure I saw a Keyboard Mag or Sound on Sound article somewhere about more detailed settings bit I cannot find it right now.